Even 'Dump Weekend' Busy in 2009
By John Hamann
April 26, 2009
Well back in second is Zac Efron's 17 Again, which opened last weekend to $23.7 million. This weekend, Efron is a little flat, as his film fell 51% to record a second weekend gross of $11.7 million. At least he can say his film had two weekends above the $10 million mark, and that his first above the title role is going to generate at least $65 million for Warner Bros. It has a current total of $40 million, and as much as I hate to say it, will be considered a success. Now let's see if Efron signs on for Jonny Quest.
Finishing third is Fighting, which is certainly no Fight Club. The Universal/Rogue Pictures film opened to $11.4 million from 2,309 venues and carried a venue average of $4,955. The film stars Channing Tatum (who I always confuse with Dreaderick Tatum from The Simpsons), and for some reason Terrence Howard. Howard was nominated for an Oscar for Hustle & Flow, was part of the cast that won multiple awards for Best Picture winner Crash, and more recently, he was Tony Stark's sidekick in Iron Man. Fighting finished at only 36% fresh at RottenTomatoes, and leaves me wondering who Howard owed a favour to. Considering that the film was sold on the back of Channing (Dreaderick) Tatum, this film should be happy with its so-so success, although Universal marketed the hell out of it, costing the studio a small fortune in the process. Budget data isn't available, but a guess would put this one in the $30 million range, a figure Fighting will struggle to earn.
Fourth spot goes to The Soloist, which falls from being former Oscar bait, to a sad fourth on dump weekend in April. Considering the dumping, The Soloist still opened to an okay $9.7 million from an extremely low venue count of 2,024 venues. It had an average of $4,800. Oscar winner Jamie Foxx and Oscar nominee Robert Downey Jr. head this film about a homeless Julliard-trained musician who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and his benefactor. This seems like an Oscar home run, but reviews were unkind, leading to a barely fresh rating of 61%. The problem here might be the lack of a happy, concise ending. The Foxx character doesn't overcome his illness so that he can lead the symphony to greatness in the end. Instead the movie falls into the trap of manipulation, and we will have to wait until next weekend to see if America falls for it. IMDb lists a budget of $60 million for The Soloist, a figure this one is extremely unlikely to see, unless something weird happens over the next few weekends.
Finishing fifth is Earth, Disney's nature film that opened to $4.6 million on Wednesday, which was Earth Day. Over the Friday-to-Sunday portion of its five-day opening, Earth grossed $8.6 million from 1,804 venues. It had an average of $4,742. Earth was filmed "alongside of" the documentary Planet Earth, and it had already played in Europe two years ago (where it amassed $80 million in box office). This is not a fresh film for Disney to say the least. I'm thinking this one could disappear fairly quickly, but wouldn't be surprised if the opposite was true. After five days, Earth has a total of $14.2 million.